Following the highly rated premiere of Downton Abbey, Season 5 on January 4, Masterpiece on PBS, one of the most celebrated drama series on television, today announced that it will bring two new series into its Sunday night lineup. Arthur & George, starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), and Home Fires will join the Masterpiece schedule later in 2015.
Masterpiece has experienced incredible momentum in recent years. With massive hits like Downton Abbey and Sherlock, Masterpiece's ratings have soared, making it the top-rated series on PBS. The 3.6 national household rating (live+7) average for 2014 is an increase of 80% over 2010.
"For Masterpiece to be the number one show on PBS in its 44th year is historic," says executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "We are proud of the work of our British partners and grateful to all of our American supporters." Masterpiece is presented by WGBH Boston.
The appetite for Masterpiece programming led to an expanded 2015 schedule, with 20 additional hours of new productions airing outside the regular 9 p.m time slot. Grantchester, a new mystery that was a hit in the UK, begins on January 18 at 10:00 p.m, and Wolf Hall, an adaptation of Hilary Mantel's prize-winning novels, premieres on April 5 at 9:55 p.m. The exclusive corporate funder of these titles is Viking River Cruises.
Masterpiece also unveiled two major new titles for later in 2015:
Arthur & George: Starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) as world-famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes' acclaimed novel follows the separate but intersecting lives of two very different men: a half-Indian son of a vicar who is framed for a crime he may or may not have committed, and Doyle, who investigates the case.
"How perfect that Arthur & George will air on PBS, as public television has been such a wonderful home to Doc Martin," says Martin Clunes. "I'm sure that our new series will be a treat for Doc Martin fans, and for everyone who enjoys a terrific drama."
Home Fires: Starring Masterpiece favorites Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) and Francesca Annis (Reckless) as part of a remarkable group of women living in a small rural village during World War II. Separated from husbands, fathers, sons and brothers for years at a time - some permanently - they find themselves under extraordinary pressures in a rapidly fragmenting world.
Arthur & George is a co-production of Buffalo Pictures and Masterpiece for ITV. It is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Home Fires is a co-production of ITV Studios and Masterpiece for ITV. It is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
Masterpiece is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer. Funding for the series is provided by Viking River Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The Masterpiece Trust, created to help ensure the series' future.